Students come into a new school year with high expectations and goals for the rest of the school year, but often, those highs are brought down to reality once quarter one is over. People say that quarter one of the school year is the easiest of the four quarters. At the same time however, people also say it is the toughest quarter, since there is an adjustment period needed between the end of summer vacation and the start of school.
Due to the higher quarter grade rule in MCPS, a grade of A the first or second quarter combined with a B the first or second quarter is an A since A is the higher grade. Similarly, a grade of B one quarter and C the other quarter results in a B for the overall semester and so on. The grade rule lessens the amount of pressure students feel to perform the best they can in all subject areas in one quarter.
Overall, students gave positive feedback about the first quarter despite unique challenges encountered throughout it. Quarter one was a different situation for each individual student, and their feelings about the quarter were also affected by grade level.
Students felt that the quarter was like a roller coaster, with high points and low points. At the end though, it is all about resilience and how one deals with stress. “I had a low point in the quarter but like always, I bounced back like a king,” junior Mina Senthil said.
Sophomore Sophia Xu also had a similar experience, beginning the quarter with a rocky start. “The school year always starts out bumpy. With grades on borderline, every single point counts. But after first quarter, it’s more relaxed and I usually get into the groove of things,” Xu said.
For freshmen, quarter one is especially challenging because they have to transition from middle school to high school. “Middle school to high school was a huge leap. Primarily the homework load aspect. In middle school you could mess around until 8 p.m. and still get your homework done by 9 p.m., but in high school, the moment you get home is when you need to start your homework. I had trouble in the beginning but after learning how to manage my time, high school seemed to get easier,” freshman Philip Zhao said.
Some students also left school to go on once-in-a-lifetime trips such as climbing Mount Everest. Junior Jaanavi Selvaraj went to Nepal for two weeks. When she got back, she took the responsibility of making up all her missed work, so her quarter one learning and grades were not affected.
“Even with leaving school for a two week trip to Nepal, I was able to catch-up with all my school work in time for the end of the quarter,” Selvaraj said.
Senior Margot Bartol has a different perspective on quarter one because first quarter is when seniors typically finish up the majority of their college applications. “Quarter one was harder than expected because of senioritis. I needed first quarter grades for early decision for college so it was important for me to do well,” Bartol said.
While some students find some aspects of quarter one to be challenging, other students find it easy.
“Quarter one is usually easier than all the other quarters. I hope the next quarters go even more smoothly,” sophomore James Chiang said.
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